About This Fish

Estuary Cod

The estuary cod (Epinephelus malabaricus) is one of the largest and most common cod and is also known as Malabar grouper, greasy cod, spotted river cod, Blackspot cod, Blackspotted rockcod, Brown-spotted grouper, Malabar cod, Malabar reef cod, Morgan's cod, speckled grouper or estuary rock cod etc. It is a ray finned fish which belongs to the family Serranidae under order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is found in Red Sea and East Africa to Tonga, north to Japan and south to Australia. It occurs in a range of habitats including coral and rocky reefs, estuaries, mangrove swamps and over sandy and muddy bottoms from the shore to depths of 150 meters. Juveniles are found near shore and in estuaries.

The estuary cod is a robust marine fish with a brownish head and long body. Mouth is large and the lower jaw is larger than upper jaw. The body is covered with small blackish-brown spots which increase in number with age and scattered whitish spots and blotches are also present. Five irregular dark brown bars are often present on the body while Juvenile has a number of wide and broken vertical bands of darker shade across the body. Dorsal fin is divided into two parts such as spiny part and soft part, of which, spiny part has 11 spines and soft part with 14-16 rays. Anal fin contains 3 spines with 8 soft rays and the caudal fin is rounded. It can reach up to 234 cm in length and over 150 kg in weight. It is a voracious predator which mainly feeds on fish, crustaceans and occasionally cephalopods. Estuary cod functions first as female and second as male. It is an open water spawner which spawns pelagic eggs.

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